Court Stops Struggling Retailer Tuskys From Laying Off More Workers

A High Court judge on Thursday stopped cash-strapped retailer Tuskys from letting go of more unionised workers.

Employment and Labour Relations court judge Stephen Radido blocked the job cuts after the workers argued that their sacking was unlawful.

According to the workers, Tuskys failed to issue a timely notice as is required by law.

Through the Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers (Kucfaw), the employees whose future looks bleak, the retailer only gave them a four day notice.

“That pending the hearing of the motion inter partes and or further directions, an order do hereby issue restraining the respondent from further declaring any redundancies unlawfully and or unprocedurally,” justice Radido said.

Tuskys Supermarket. [Courtesy]
“That motion be served for inter partes hearing or further orders on October 8, 2020.”

Tuskys Human Resource general manager Francis Kimani in a redundancy notice to the workers dated September 21, said the employer would pay in lieu of notice, unutilised annual leave days and severance pay on February 13, 2021.

Tuskys has thus far let go of 400 employees as it struggles to stay afloat.

The retailer is seeking a Sh2 billion debt from an unknown investor based in Mauritius.

Should the 7 shareholders default on the loan, they will be forced to cede ownership of the chain of supermarkets.

Tuskys’ holding company, Orakam Holdings, through lawyer Philip Murgor is said to have already summoned all the shareholders to a shareholders’ meeting on Monday, September 28, to sign off on the agreement.

Tuskys Supermarket. [Courtesy]
“A notice has been sent for shareholders of Orakam on September 28, 2020 to validate negotiations of receiving $20 million from an offshore fund,” said Murgor in the notice.

Stephen Mukuha, Sammy Gatei, Yusuf Mugweru and George Gachwe each own a 17.5 percent stake in Orakam while John Kago, Mary Njoki and Kenneth Njeri own a 10 percent stake each.

The retailer has already received Sh500 million, part of the Sh2 billion debt.

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